The article studies the way the Russian literature reflects the process of women’s emancipation originated and developed. The author considers the women’s issue to become imminent mostly due to the development of realism and its attention to social problems. Besides, the growth of women’s emancipation in Europe also had certain influence. The material for the research has become the magazine «Otechestvennye Zapiski» («Domestic notes»), which was one of the most advanced Russian editions of the 40s of the XIX century. As the analysis of the magazine showed the patriarchal picture of the world dominated in the Russian literature of that time. “The women’s issue” was discussed not in the social-political perspective, but rather in moral-ethical and spiritual ones. It is stated that in spite of the domination of negative attitude to the women’s emancipation in the Russian society the growth of interest to the fate of the fair sex testified the growing importance of a woman in the society.